Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Keep Your Eye on the Pinstripes

Stephen Miller, the obituary writer for the WSJ, scored the equivalent of an obituary scoop the other day when he wrote a bylined obit about Barry Bremen, a compulsive imposter who crashed events and gained at least 15 minutes of fame several times over.

The paper of record, The NYT just today printed a bylined obit.  Mr Miller's appeard July 8, closer to when Mr. Bremen died, June 30th.  Making it more of a scoop is that the WSJ only prints at best, one obituary an issue; the Times, several each day, all the time.

Regardless, Mr. Bremen is no longer with us.  It turns out, he gave up being an imposter several years ago when he felt it might be too dangerous to tempt security people to mistreat him on being collared.

He portrayed himself as many different people, and even as the San Diego Padres' Chicken mascot.  What's best about reading about him is seeing the 1979 picture the WSJ and the NYT both used in their pieces: Mr. Bremen wearing Yankee pinstripes and looking like Bobby Murcer (or is it Joe Pepitone?), albeit a
6-foot-4 version.

In the movie and the Broadway musical versions of 'Catch Me if You Can' the Frank Abagnales, father and son, remind us that getting away with portraying someone else can be easy when you make everyone else focus on the "Yankee pinstripes."  Look the part, and you've got the part.  Turns out a reference to pinstripes in a phone conversation with FBI agent Carl Hanratty becomes part of the puzzle piece that aids in Frank Jr. being collared. If you're unfamiliar with this, it's enough to say there's a happy ending.

The power of Yankee pinstripes might also help to explain why a young man with fresh debt of his own, who catches Derek Jeter's 3000th hit, a home run, in effect gives a winning lottery ticket to a millionaire: Derek Jeter.

By both obituary accounts, it seems Barry Bremen had a good time and hurt no one.  And Christian Lopez, who if he doesn't do anything else noteworthy, will forever be known as the young man who gave Derek Jeter the ball.

Sounds like he's poised to have a good time as well.


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